Fighting organized crime in Benin
West Africa is known for trafficking in a wide range of illegal products, from weapons and stolen cars to cigarettes, fake medicines, wildlife products, and natural resources like crude oil, gold, diamonds, cocoa and cashew nuts.
Associated crime areas which also threaten West African security include money laundering, cattle rustling and cybercrime. International organized crime groups use West Africa to smuggle drugs from South America to Europe and Asia. The region is a source, transit region and destination for human trafficking.
Most crime networks engage in all these crime areas simultaneously, using the same trafficking routes to move multiple forms of illegal produce across the region, often bringing violence, insecurity and economic loss with them.
Because crime networks invariably operate globally, it is essential for Benin’s law enforcement to have access to a global police cooperation tool. This enables it to work with law enforcement in all continents to tackle its regional crime from a global angle.
INTERPOL in Benin
The international characteristics of these crime areas and their links with organized crime groups around the world make the role of Benin’s INTERPOL National Central Bureau (NCB) fundamental to national security.
NCB Cotonou is Benin’s lead agency for taking national criminal investigations beyond national borders to work with police forces in other countries and continents. The NCB is staffed with police officers specialized in tackling the region’s specific crime challenges.
The NCB gives local police forces globally sourced intelligence to help them detect and investigate the flow of illicit goods along trafficking routes in and around the country.
NCB Cotonou is also an active player in INTERPOL’s global fugitive investigation operations.
Law enforcement in Benin
National law enforcement services in Benin are provided by the Republican Police (DGPR), which combines and replaces the former national police and gendarmerie. DGPR is responsible for national security, law and order, and the protection of people and property.
The DGPR comprises a national criminal police force called the DPJ, which investigates serious organized crime, terrorism and transnational crime. The INTERPOL NCB for Benin is part of the DPJ.